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A woman accused of poisoning the North Korean leader's half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, at a Malaysian airport had been paid to fly to Macau, Kim‘s home at the time, just days before the killing took place, her lawyer told a court on Thursday. Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a critic of his family's dynastic rule, according to some South Korean lawmakers, had been living in exile in Macau, a special administrative region of China bordering Hong Kong. Indonesian Siti Aisyah is accused with another woman, Doan Thi Huong, from Vietnam, of murdering Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb 13 last year. Defence lawyers say the women thought they were playing pranks for a reality TV show, had been paid for playing similar pranks at shopping malls and airports elsewhere in the weeks before the killing and did not know they were poisoning Kim. They face the death penalty if convicted. On Feb 8 last year, Siti Aisyah had been given 4,000 ringgit ($1,020) by Hong Song Hac, a North Korean, to buy tickets to Macau so that she could play pranks for a reality TV show, her lawyer, Gooi Soon Seng, told the court. But Hong called her later that day to tell her that the trip was off. Gooi did not state whether Hong gave any reasons for the cancellation. Kim Jong Nam had arrived in Malaysia two days earlier. Lead police investigator Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz could not confirm Gooi's account but said text message records taken from Siti Aisyah's mobile phone on Feb. 8 showed her telling a friend that she was going to Macau for “shooting”. She later received five missed calls from Hong before picking up on the sixth, phone [...]
Thu, Feb 22, 2018
Source Cyprus Mail
Four-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes hope to have a new long-term deal wrapped up before the season starts in Australia next month, both parties said on Thursday. Speaking at the launch of the champions' new W09 car at a damp and cold Silverstone circuit, Hamilton indicated the signing could come in a matter of weeks. “Hopefully we'll have something done before the beginning of the season, before the start of the first race,” the 33-year-old Briton, whose current contract expires at the end of the year, told reporters. “But again, we're just in no rush. There's no reason to rush anything, there's no panic. “I'm not feeling under any pressure of any other drivers being there and (team boss) Toto (Wolff) and Mercedes have no reason to feel that I'm talking to anybody else.” Wolff told reporters separately that he had spoken to Hamilton regularly by phone and through messaging and hoped to have the deal done within “a few weeks” and “the sooner the better”. “He (Hamilton) has been with the team six years so we are talking about extending that to a very long time with the same driver in the same team,” said the Austrian. The season starts in Australia on March 25. Hamilton has been conducting his own negotiations with the team and said last November, after winning his fourth championship in Mexico, that he expected the talks to be straightforward. He explained on Thursday that he had not been away over the winter and preferred to discuss the detail in person. But he said there was no doubt about his commitment and that of the team. “In the whole six years that I've been here, I've not spoken to another team once,” he said. “I know the team have been contacted by other drivers in the past, and probably still do today, [...]
Thu, Feb 22, 2018
Source Cyprus Mail
North Korea will send a high-level delegation to South Korea for the Winter Olympics closing ceremony, officials said on Thursday, including the man blamed for the 2010 sinking of a South Korean navy ship that killed 46 sailors. The latest visit by officials from the normally reclusive North will coincide with a visit by a US delegation led by President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka. The North Korean delegation will be led by Kim Yong Chol, vice-chairman of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee, and will stay for three days from Sunday, South Korea‘s Ministry of Unification said in a statement. Kim also heads the United Front Department, the North Korean office responsible for handling inter-Korean affairs. He was previously chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a top North Korean military intelligence agency, which South Korea blamed for the deadly 2010 sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean navy corvette. South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said the torpedo attack on the boat was carried by the North but the government had not been able to confirm exactly who was responsible. North Korea denied having anything to do with the sinking. “Kim is in charge of South Korea affairs, which is why we're accepting him as we believe it would help improve inter-Korean relations and resolve the matter of denuclearisation”, Cho told parliament. The Winter Olympics in South Korea have given a big boost to engagement between the two Koreas after more than a year of sharply rising tension over the North's missile tests and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of UN sanctions. Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, led a three-day visit to the opening of the Olympics and the North Korean leader later said he wanted to boost a “warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue”. Kim Yo Jong and [...]
Thu, Feb 22, 2018
Source Cyprus Mail
Police closed down a street in southern Brussels in a major security operation involving specialist armed units on Thursday after a report of a possible murder. A police spokeswoman denied media reports that an armed gunman was hiding in the area. She said that the special units of the federal police had been deployed after a Polish man reported that someone had been murdered in the morning. “They are searching the buildings but we can say there has not been any terrorist attack,” she said. Brussels is still on alert after suicide bombers killed 32 people at the airport and on the metro in March 2016. The post Belgian police set up security cordon after murder report appeared first on Cyprus Mail. [...]
Thu, Feb 22, 2018
Source Cyprus Mail
By Stelios Orphanides The state-owned Cyprus Cooperative Bank has agreed to temporarily suspend its decision to fire 17 of its workers who failed to service their loans hours after it was confronted with the possibility of labour action, a union leader said. “They have been informed that they can go back to work,” said Elysseos Michael, secretary general of the private sector division of SEK, in a telephone interview on Thursday. The decision to revoke the dismissal of the workers was taken late on Wednesday at a meeting of the bank's board of directors with representatives of the workers' unions. Michael added. The affected workers, part of a group of around 100, were given a March 19, deadline to conclude restructuring negotiations with the bank. “It appears that some procedures at the bank which should have prevented this from occurring hadn't been properly applied,” he said. “Those who are uncooperative or are strategic defaulters refusing to pay their loans, they can be fired but according to the right procedure which provides their summoning at the disciplinary council which then has to take the decision,” he added. On Wednesday, bank workers' union Etyk warned that it was considering labour action to protect its members from the “arbitrary decisions” of the administration of the bank, which is struggling with €6.4bn in non-performing loans, making up more than half of its total loans. The bank received from the government in 2014 and 2015 a capital injection of almost €1.7bn and is currently working at attracting strategic and institutional investors to participate in a capital increase this summer. In January, its agreement to outsource the management of its delinquent portfolio to a joint unit set up with Spain's non-performing loans specialist Altamira, came into force. “We don't want to favour anyone and put them above other customers not paying their loans [...]
Thu, Feb 22, 2018
Source Cyprus Mail
– Phoenix Leaders announces the launch of Cyprus' first Private Members' Club; an exciting, agile new working space where members can do business in a dynamic and fluid way. The Club will provide excellent networking opportunities to prominent and aspiring professionals, supporting the interactive and intellectual side of leadership through regular events. In the heart of Nicosia, a historic building which was due for demolition, is transformed into a convivial, atmospheric and welcoming clubhouse. Phoenix Leaders joined forces with the winners of the Mies van der Rohe Award – AL Architects, to accentuate the raw simplicity of the building and create the place where historical heritage and modern luxury converge. The Club offers sophisticated meeting rooms, casual hot desks, refreshments and healthy snacks, combining the feel of a purposeful business space with an informal atmosphere of a social club. For those looking to relax in a peaceful yet inspirational environment, it features a library of titles centred around current trends in leadership and strategy, and a selection of highly-respected publications covering all aspects of business news. In its commitment to support the local community, Phoenix Leaders will partner with a number of local businesses that share the values of sustainability and authenticity, on a series of projects that will be part of the Club's activities. The work of local artists will be curated inside the Club and members will have the chance to enjoy the beautiful pieces of art when visiting and working on the premises. Phoenix Leaders is dedicated to attracting world-class talent to Cyprus and has scheduled a number of public training and leadership events for 2018. Throughout the year the Members' Club will host events with leading guest speakers on a variety of topics, including digital leadership, neuroscience, how to employ, engage and retain millennials, and mental [...]
Thu, Feb 22, 2018
Source Cyprus Mail

 

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